Sebelius: Obama didn’t know about website problems until after launch
posted at 10:01 pm on October 22, 2013 by Mary Katharine Ham
Hey, he reads about every other crisis in the paper. Why not this one, too?
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told CNN’s Sanjay Gupta that President Obama was completely clueless about serious problems with HealthCare.gov pre-launch. This despite troubles with the minimal testing done on the site and serious concerns from insurance companies, who were even pushing for delay.
President Barack Obama didn’t know of problems with the Affordable Care Act’s website — despite insurance companies’ complaints and the site’s crashing during a test run — until days into its now well-documented abysmal launch, the nation’s health chief told CNN on Tuesday.
In an exclusive interview with CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius admitted that there is concern in her department and the White House over the technical debacle surrounding the Obamacare website rollout, saying “no one could be more frustrated than I am and the president.”
The site was supposed to make it simple for people to search and sign-up for new health care policies starting on October 1, but instead it’s been clunky and, at times, inoperable.
“We’re not at all satisfied with the workings of the website,” Sebelius said. “We want it to be smooth and easy and let consumers’ compare plans.”
So, was the president so very uninterested in making sure his legacy law got launched with a modicum of competence that he never checked to make sure this was going well? Is he so surrounded by yes men and women that no one could bring themselves to tell him about this? Was Sebelius just straight-up lying to him day in and day out? Or, is she taking one for the team because he knew there were problems and was too stubborn to delay? I have pretty low expectations for Obama and government in general, but I remain a bit mystified at just how negligent it appears he was. If there’s one thing he is intensely interested in, it’s his own legacy, right?
Sebelius’ star continues to rise in this interview. Check out the tone she strikes. Gupta asks if she should resign, to which she replies, she serves “at the pleasure of the president.”
She uses the bogus giant traffic excuse yet again, even though the Washington Post reported some 2,000 users crashed the site in testing.
She declares there is reason for optimism in the Obamacare launch because, you see, there are so very many people lawfully required to buy insurance being prevented from buying it by this website. It’s not a crisis; it’s an opportunity! It’s a crisitunity.
“What we’re seeing in not only the states that are run by the federal website, but states around the country, is that interest is huge,” she said. “People are eager to have this affordable product, and that product is there.”
She admits she hasn’t tried to sign up using HealthCare.gov because “I have insurance.” Nice. The hundreds of thousands of people losing theirs and with no way to sign up for new, crappier plans appreciate the knife-twisting, Kath.
And, finally, this classic Kinsleyan gaffe: “We anticipated at the outset that everyone would never use the website,” she said.
The entire interview is below, and no, there is nothing in it that suggests they have any idea how to fix this thing.